Telemedicine: Ultimate Guide for Physician Practice
Posted by 1st Providers Choice on
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine refers to the collective term for using digital platforms and other telecommunication technologies to provide healthcare remotely. It takes advantage of connecting technologies and digital channels such as wireless or internet video chat, AI chatbots, and streaming media.
The goal of telemedicine is to bridge and strengthen the connection between patients and doctors digitally. It also hopes to reduce the need for face-to-face meetings. The development of telemedicine technologies initially aimed to cater to the healthcare needs of people in remote areas. However, the global pandemic brought by the coronavirus (COVID-19) spiked the need and demand for telemedicine. Since then, telemedicine is slowly becoming a norm in global healthcare. It is making healthcare administration, medical research, public health, and health-relation information dissemination more efficient and accessible. It allows medical professionals to do their jobs safely and remotely. Physicians can take advantage of a secured telecommunication tech to talk to their patients, diagnose, suggest treatment, and prescribe medication remotely. The technology has a great ability to provide convenience for both healthcare professionals and patients. It allows patients to book their appointments online and have their consultation using their mobile devices or computer.
What is the difference between Telemedicine and Telehealth?
People are often confused about both terms.
People may think that both terms are interchangeable. It is not much of a surprise since the services they both offer are incredibly similar. Some of the services are medical reports transmission, mobile and digital technologies utilization, remote patient monitoring, online patient consultations, and many more. Both are interrelated terms. However, they don’t refer to the same thing.
Telemedicine is a subcategory of telehealth. It refers to the practice of using digital and innovative technologies in delivering long-distance care. It is where medical practices use telecommunication means to diagnose and treat their patients remotely. It refers more specifically to remote clinical services.
On the other hand, telehealth refers to the collection of methods in providing health and medical services through digital technology to enhance healthcare delivery and support, health education, and public health access and facilities.
How does Telemedicine work?
Now you know the distinction of telemedicine from telehealth, it is essential to note that there are different connections that you can use for your telemedicine for your practice.
Monitoring Center Links
You can use monitoring center links for remote patient monitoring. It connects a patient’s house to a secured remote monitoring facility. The data can be sent through telephone or SMS connections or automatically via the internet. Pulmonary, cardiac, and fetal medical practices commonly use this type of link.
Larger health organizations in the urban area commonly use this link to connect their mail site and hospitals to their remote health clinics, especially those in rural areas.
Telepsychiatry, teleradiology, and urgent care commonly use this connection to link small health centers to the central internet through a high-speed internet connection. The connection is extremely beneficial for understaffed health clinics to outsource their other services to experts and specialists.
Benefits of Telemedicine
More Convenience and Accessibility
Telemedicine opens a broader door on more convenient healthcare, especially for the elderly, patients with disabilities, and those in rural areas. It eliminates geographical barriers in quality healthcare access too.
Reduces Healthcare costs
Telemedicine can cut healthcare costs to an estimated $200 billion from the United States Healthcare’s annual expenses of $2.9 trillion. It eliminates avoidable and unnecessary expenditures.
More Access to Medical Specialists
Healthcare organizations and primary care doctors can easily connect to more medical specialists for their patients. Patients can quickly get a consultation with the referred specialist via video conference.
Increasing Patient Engagement
Patients can easily and conveniently connect to your practice whenever and wherever. It saves time and costs by eliminating in-clinic visits.
Better quality patient care
Telemedicine helps providers to do quick follow-up checks on their patients. Remote condition monitoring is more accessible due to increasing remote facilitators. It contributes significantly to better care outcomes, especially in chronic care management too.
The American Telemedicine Association has put together guidelines for different specialties based on a survey of hundreds of research studies. It discusses what are the clinical, technical, and administrative guidelines a medical practice needs with telemedicine. It also includes the minimal legal requirements for medical practices per state. Here are some of the basic protocols for your telemedicine program.
When to Use Telemedicine
Providers should use telemedicine appropriately and use their professional knowledge to judge correctly whether or not a patient’s case is applicable for a telemedicine approach. Telemedicine shouldn’t be used if a case needs a thorough examination of a doctor or physician, application protocol-driven procedures, or aggressive medical intervention for patients with severe symptoms. However, here is a list of conditions that is fit for telemedicine:
- Mental/Behavioral Disorders
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Otitis Media
- Follow-up Check-ups
- Prevention and Wellness Services
When to prescribe
Doctors and physicians can prescribe for acceptable telemedicine conditions through live-video chat consultations. Telephone prescriptions are also acceptable if it’s a follow-up consultation.
Telemedicine Visits Set-Up
Attending telemedicine physicians should always have a dedicated space for privacy with proper lighting and audio.
Patient Management and Evaluation
Do not use telemedicine if there is a language barrier where the patient may not be able to understand what the physician is saying. New patients of clinics may need an in-clinic visit for a thorough examination. Secure the following information for proper and exact diagnosis:
- Identifying Information
- Medical History
- Chief Complaint
- Travel History (if applicable, like in COVID-19 cases)
- Family History
- Provider-Directed Patient Self-examination
What’s The Best Telemedicine Provider?
Get the best telemedicine EMR software for your practice at 1st Provider’s Choice. We can customize your portal based on your specialty and needs. Call 480-782-1116 today to speak with one of our Telemedicine experts and get started!